rain in Karnataka Bengaluru

CM appoints zonal task force for Bengaluru, to be headed by ministers

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai inspected rain damage in K.R. Puram in east Bengaluru on May 20, 2022.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai inspected rain damage in K.R. Puram in east Bengaluru on May 20, 2022.

Days after heavy rains wreaked havoc in Bengaluru drawing people’s ire against the government of Karnataka and former Chief Minister S. M. Krishna appealing to protect ‘Brand Bengaluru’, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced setting up of zonal level task forces in the city to be headed by a Minister. 

“Each of the eight zones in Bengaluru will have a task force headed by a Minister, and will have MLAs, MPs and MLCs as its members. There will be special commissioners, joint commissioners and all other officials from multiple agencies. This task force will oversee all development work in the zone, and will be the nodal agency in times of crises like floods,” Mr. Bommai announced on May 20. 

This comes amidst criticism over the Chief Minister retaining Bengaluru Development portfolio, like his predecessor B. S. Yediyurappa, to prevent factional fights within contenders for the post. The Chief Minister has come under flak for not being able to give enough time for the city, especially after the recent bout of heavy rains. Coming in an election year for both the city’s civic body and the State Assembly, the criticism seems to have galvanised the Chief Minister, who visited rain-affected areas for the third consecutive day on May 20 and announced the setting up of zonal task force. 

The BJP government under B. S. Yediyurappa had made a similar arrangement of appointing a minister for every zone during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the arrangement was disbanded following intense turf wars among ministers and lack of coordination.

“The last exercise of appointing a minister and a senior IAS officer for each zone effectively split up the city administration into eight zones, and civic officials were hard pressed amidst conflicting directions. It only added to the chaos,” said a senior civic official who fears a repeat of the same now. 

The move of setting up zonal task force has drawn the ire of civic activists championing the cause of the 74th amendment to the Constitution of India that provides for local self-government.

“The MLAs have taken over the city and are controlling it with an iron hand, not holding civic body polls on time. Even the new BBMP Act, 2020 has a provision for an advisory council at the Assembly constituency level headed by the MLA, institutionalising their control over the city,” said D. S. Rajashekhar of Bengaluru Praja Vedike. 

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 2:12:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/cm-appoints-zonal-task-force-for-bengaluru-to-be-headed-by-ministers/article65438618.ece